People commonly think of forgiveness as letting another “off the hook.” I have learned that it is simply letting go of grievances, allowing me to feel peaceful and loving.
Nelson Mandela said: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
Grievances create disconnection — disconnection from others and from good feelings within. Initially we might say: “It feels good to judge and be righteous when others choose destructive or hurtful behaviors.” But our judgment keeps us tied to the person and the unhappy incident. Held over long periods, it keeps us stuck.
Forgiveness is choosing to let go of what disturbs us, even in the face of painful events. By forgiving you are not condoning damaging conduct, you are simply making a conscious decision to move on. Consider letting others be, and looking within to empty your pain or anger. That may take some time but eventually your discomfort will be over and done with. When your energy is cleared and positive and you are in a peaceful inner space, you will be able to create happier experiences.
My earlier blog titled “Your Relationships Begin with YOU!” prompts us to take care of ourselves rather than attempt to change others. After all, who are we to judge or pardon? We all have our life lessons to learn and we learn them in our own time, in our own way. When people are ready, perhaps they will ask for input. Otherwise they are likely to resist it. Once we accept that it is not our place to change anyone, we can decide if, how or when we want to engage with them.
When Charleston, SC AME Church congregants lost loved ones in the shooting rampage of a deranged young man, some forgave him despite their losses. Others said they weren’t ready but wanted to come to that decision. We were all amazed and uplifted. Can we learn from their example and consider letting go of grievances of much lesser consequence, both for our own sake and others’?